February 20, 2005
This series of whole citrus experiments wasn't quite over yet, it seems. I made these tartelettes au citron, employing sort of the same technique: using whole citrus.
The recipe, called "whole-lemon tart", was one of those that instantly caught my eye in a book Paris Sweets: Great Desserts From the City's Best Pastry Shops by Dorie Greenspan (Broadway, 2002). The credit of recipe is to a Paris pastry shop called Rollet-Pradier, which I have unfortunately never paid a visit to, or actually never heard of. But it was so intriguing to me - for one thing, I love lemon tart; for another, it uses a whole lemon in the filling. What I love better than lemon tart is really tart lemon tart, really lemony one. As it happens, I have been looking for recipes of lemon tart that is like Bonne-Maman's, the one I really like among those lemon tart(elette)s I can buy from a store. I wasn't very sure if this recipe was it, but I tried it anyways.
As I have said, this recipe uses the whole lemon in the filling like in the orange cakes I have recently made, but this time the citrus doesn't get boiled but used fresh; also, seeds are removed. It looks like this:
Thinly sliced lemon and sugar went into a blender and pureed until liquified, like this:
It looked already yummy (!) to me, although I was petrified with the amount of sugar the recipe tells me to put. I cut it down just a bit, trying to ease a sense of guilt.
For the dough I used the one I had made some time ago and kept in the freezer, instead of the one given in the book. And the filling was pretty easy to make, so it should have been a very easy task to make these tarts... but I am so terrible at lining molds with tart dough, so it took me a while to have the tart shelles ready. Also, as I don't have proper tartelette molds, I used ceramic ramekins (!) because they were the closest thing I saw in my kitchen.
I managed to make (somehow awkward) tartelette shells ready, filled them with lemon-egg-sugar-butter mixture, and figured that I didn't have enough tart shells for this amount of lemon filling; I ended up with making rather deep tarts. Ah well.
So my tartelettes au citron came out of the oven, smelling wonderfully lemony, and left to cool. They didn't look nowhere close to those beautiful lemon tarts sold at fancy pastry shops, but at least smelled lovely. And the first bite into it - ah - oh - it really was lemony. I mean, tart, and bitter. I remembered that the lemon I used looked to have rather thick peel, a white, spongy part that primarily gives the lemon its bitterness. The high proportion of that bitter part might have made the filling bitter accordingly, I suspected... I regard myself as a hard-core lover of lemon and anything lemon-flavored, but these ones were a bit too much even to me, let alone the general public.
Now I am guessing that a sweeter Meyer lemon would make really sweet and luscious lemon tartelettes. Also, this time my tartelettes were a bit too deep-dishy kind and thus had a lot of filling per tart, making the bitterness even more intense; a bit thinner tart would make a better balance of tart shell and filling. Maybe next time.
posted by chika at: 2/20/2005 10:01:00 PM